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From The Socialist newspaper, 23 April 2008

Shelter workers escalate action

SHELTER MANAGEMENT'S recent derisory offer to its workforce has got the answer it deserved. Workers voted 64% to reject it and escalate strike action, on a 56% turnout. So Shelter workers will strike again on 24-25 April to coincide with the 24 April public-sector strikes.

A Shelter worker

Following two strike days in March, management offered a paltry 150 one-off payment to staff plus a lump sum to some workers in lieu of abolishing the incremental pay scheme. This paves the way to the introduction of performance-related pay. Staff were angered at the offer as it failed to address workers' main concerns, leaving little doubt that management are completely out of touch with their workforce.

Management refused to withdraw dismissal notices to those opposing cuts. Shelter managers have been pressurising staff to sign contract variation letters and have issued dismissal notices to those who refused. The first dismissal notices will take effect on 23 April. Managers are offering staff their jobs back but on worse terms and conditions.

Senior management also refused to back down on the extension of the working week with no extra pay. This will especially affect those with caring responsibilities who will face wage cuts and extra child care costs.

Striking Shelter workers have received widespread support, especially from other voluntary sector workers who realise this struggle represents something beyond Shelter: the voluntary and private sectors (the 'third sector') are pressurised by the New Labour government to compete with each other to bid for contracts. This drives down pay and conditions and enables government to get services on the cheap.

This means Shelter staff are fighting for the future pay and conditions of the voluntary sector and also attempting to defend high-quality services for those in need of housing advice.

  • Support our strike. Send letters of support and donate to our strike fund: Please pay donations directly to: Shelter Strike Fund, Lloyds TSB, Sort Code: 30-97-51, Account Number: 1448336.
  • Alternatively, please make cheques payable to 'Shelter Strike Fund' and send them to: Shelter Stewards, c/o 48 Swindon Close, Gorton, Manchester, M18 8JQ. Messages of support to: shelterstewards@googlemail.com

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    In The Socialist 23 April 2008:

    The rich get richer... and we foot the bill!

    Editorial: Brown's government lurching from pillar to post


    Socialist Party workplace news

    Support striking teachers

    Shelter workers escalate action

    Why DWP workers are striking

    Oil workers to strike back at pensions threat


    Socialist Party election campaign

    Vote socialist on 1 May


    Socialist Party news and analysis

    Gloucester says... 'save our post offices'

    Why drug firms should be nationalised


    The Socialist Interview

    Jersey - Growing anger against elite of secrets


    Socialist Party feature

    How can we defeat the far right?

    Campaign to unionise migrant workers


    Socialist Party review

    'The Conscience of a Liberal' by Paul Krugman


    International socialist news and analysis

    Zimbabwe: Workers' strength stops arms shipment

    Italy: Left leaders opened way for Berlusconi victory

    France 1968: month of revolution. Speaking tour

    France 1968: Book by Clare Doyle


     

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